This part of our family’s life is called Fire Drills. Over the past month, we have encountered one urgent issue after another – homeowner woes, new commitments that pop up, car repairs, unexpected changes in plans. As soon as we’ve almost resolved one, another comes our way and takes priority.
In fact, as we evaluated the state of our budget early in the month, it looked like we would have some extra funds at month end to direct toward savings, and Brandon (now, regretfully) said, “It would be hard for us to overspend by that much.” I think we all know what happened next.
I’ll give us some credit — we’ve really had good humor through it all but the relentless inflow of stress has worn on us a little.
I know our situation isn’t unique. And it’s honestly preferable to what many are working through in their own lives. Some face an unmanageable amount of work each Monday, some are the sole managers of a home and family, some are unemployed and struggling to make ends meet, and some battle illness alongside the work of everyday life.
What unites us is this – the happenings of everyday life can be stressful, monotonous, exhausting, and disheartening.
So how do we, as our pastor asked in church this past Sunday, keep the plain things the main things? What do we do when we are paralyzed by overwhelming circumstances? Where do we focus when priorities compete for our attention?
Just as life’s challenges are relentless, so we must be – in refocusing our attention on our Creator, pursuing a relationship with Him, and completing whatever work we have been given with a grateful spirit.
I’ve had a beautiful reminder of this truth during this wild season we’re living, as I’ve been able to review an advance copy of Ruth Chou Simons’ beautiful and encouraging new book, Beholding and Becoming — The Art of Everyday Worship.
In sixteen beautiful chapters illustrated with her stunning paintings, she discusses the art of everyday worship. First, we behold Biblical truths about God and His provision for us, and then we live our own story in light of that truth. As we evaluate our perceptions in areas such as work, family, failure, money, and control, Ruth encourages us to find ways to practice our faith:
“…Practice makes *progress*, not *perfect*. The race you’re running day by day, the one foot you place in front of the other, the daily choice to persevere, and the diligence to throw off entangling sin – in these God is at work to perfect your faith through your practicing, again and again, the race marked out for you.”
I read the book straight through the first time, but intend to use it as a daily devotion on my next read, as these are truths I’ll want (need?) to revisit again and again.
Ruth Chou Simons’ book Beholding and Becoming: The Art of Everyday Worship lands on bookshelves tomorrow September 10, 2019, but you can order a copy now at any online book retailer. Visit Ruth’s website to learn more about her heart for the book, purchase her stunning artwork, or simply to connect.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thank in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV